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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao requests Centre to expedite setting up of six new airports in state

A formal proposal from the state government, with the six locations identified, was sent to the AAI for preparing feasibility reports in May 2018.

Written by Rahul V Pisharody | Hyderabad |
April 4, 2021 9:26:43 pm
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar RaoTelangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (file photo)

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao Saturday reiterated the demand for setting up six airstrips in the state. The CM requested Pradeep Singh Kharola, the Union Secretary for Civil Aviation, to expedite the process when the latter paid him a visit. The official has assured the CM that the matter would be taken up for speedy sanction, according to the CM’s office.

The Telangana government plans to set up new domestic airports at six locations — at Mamunur in Warangal district, Basant Nagar in Peddapalli district, Palvancha in Bhadradri-Kottagudem district, Jakran Palli in Nizamabad district, Devarakadra in Mahabubnagar district, and Adilabad district headquarters.

Earlier in December 2020, the CM had called on the Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri in Delhi. In his representation, the CM had sought the Centre’s support “in finalizing the sites and securing all statutory clearances on a single-window basis so that the State government can commence the infrastructure work at the earliest for starting the non-scheduled operator’s permit (NSOP) operations with its own funds.”

Rao wrote that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken up the Obstacle Limitation Surface Survey (OLSS), soil testing and other investigations at the sites and some draft reports have recently come, the final reports are yet to be given.

Got TEFRs, expect DPRs in a month or two: VN Bharat Reddy

Meanwhile, the Telangana government has earmarked Rs 100 crore towards the development of civil aviation facilities in the 2021-22 state budget. The government intends to construct airstrips in second-tier cities, said finance minister T Harish Rao, on the floor of the house. The state at present has only one airport in Hyderabad.

When contacted, VN Bharat Reddy, the Director of Aviation for the Government of Telangana, said that the Rs 100 crore is a ball-figure allocation towards payment of fees to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other preliminary examinations. “We are at a very advanced stage in this regard. We have got the Techno-Economic Feasibility Report (TEFR) for all six domestic airports from the AAI and the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is awaited. A couple of meetings, over video-conferencing, between the state officials and the AAI, have taken place regarding the TEFR and we are expecting the DPR in a month or two,” Reddy told indianexpress.com.

Hyderabad airport The Hyderabad international airport, which began its commercial operations in 2008 with a capacity of 12 million passengers per annum (MPPA), is on expansion mode now. (File photo)

After receipt of DPR, the state government officials will examine the cost involved in land acquisition as well as infrastructure development. At all the six locations, the State has identified government lands, as well as adjoining assigned and private lands that could be acquired for the purpose. “As of now, there is no change in identified lands. AAI teams have gone there and done the necessary studies here. After DPR, the district collectors concerned will be requested for taking up land acquisitions,” he added.

A formal proposal from the state government, with the six locations identified, was sent to the AAI for preparing feasibility reports in May 2018. It was decided to develop existing airstrips at Basant Nagar in Peddapalli district, at Mamnoor village in Warangal Urban district, and at Adilabad district headquarters, as brownfield projects. In that letter to AAI, the state proposed “to develop no-frills airports at these six locations catering to AIR-42 which are 40-50 seated aircraft requiring a runway length of 1400-1500 m with portacabin type terminal building. Thereafter, based on the demand, the expansion will be taken upon a phased manner.”

Additional air connectivity for state’s overall growth: T Muralidharan

After the bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the new state of Telangana was left with only one airport, the GMR-led Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad. Three months later, in September 2014, the CM wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the requirement for five more airports to facilitate additional air connectivity for the state’s overall growth. As of date, the residual state of Andhra Pradesh has three international airports at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, and Tirupati, and three domestic airports at Rajahmundry, Kadapa, and Kurnool.

The Hyderabad international airport, which began its commercial operations in 2008 with a capacity of 12 million passengers per annum (MPPA), is on expansion mode to enhance its capacity to cater to over 34 MPPA over a period of time. One of the busiest airports in the country, the Hyderabad airport also has an integrated cargo facility of handling capacity of 1,50,000 MT per annum.

According to T Muralidharan, the Chairman of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Telangana Council, having better air connectivity would leverage the state’s industry especially in terms of the export of perishable goods. “Better air connectivity is a thing of value for export of perishable, high-value, as well as emergency cargo. It is an added attraction for foreign companies and industries looking at smaller towns to invest,” he said.

Hyderabad has been a hub of pharma companies and is a major exporter of IT and IT-enabled services as well. The State has been for a while now talking about decentralizing development by taking industries to tier-II cities Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad, and Khammam, etc. “Perhaps more important than building air infrastructure is improved road connectivity. The proposed Regional Ring Road(RRR) project is crucial and Telangana seems to be focussed on that,” said Muralidharan.

The RRR is a 348-km long stretch, proposed to be built 30 km away from the existing 158-km long Outer Ring Road (ORR), an expressway that encircles Hyderabad and connects different state and national highways. In the latest budget, while allocating Rs 750 crore for land acquisition for RRR, the finance minister called the project another jewel in the crown of Telangana. He said that the RRR is expected to give a new stimulus for the state’s growth.

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